In keeping with the practices of the ancient church, the Anglican Church places emphasis on Baptism first. Baptism is the initiatory rite into Communion itself. Once an individual is baptized, they are viewed as full members of the household of God with access to the sacraments, entitled to the benefits, albeit, not fully cognizant of them.
There is great mystery in the Eucharist and it is in that setting of Thanksgiving that we receive the sacraments of bread and wine in faith, strengthening that faith in the reception of them, through which we are able to receive all of God’s gifts.
This is why children are welcome to receive Holy Communion. This doesn’t mean that children are fully formed as Christians; none of us are. We spend our entire lives living into our Baptismal vows and entering into the mystery of Christ’s presence in the bread and wine of the Eucharist.
On a practical level, families are invited to participate in this sacred moment together. For those children who have not been baptized, a blessing from the priest may be received. The desire to receive a blessing is indicated by children simply crossing their arms in front of them with hands placed on shoulders or by parental request. If a child has received the sacrament of Holy Baptism, they may receive the bread and/or wine, dependent on the wishes of their parents. This can be done by intinction, in which the chalice bearer will take the bread, dip it in the wine, and place it on the lips to be consumed, or by eating the bread and letting the wine touch their lips. Each week it awakens joy in the congregation to see so many ages of the church family coming to the Lord’s table to share in this beautiful sacrament together.